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Ron & Julie "Snowplow & Rubber Legs" Cluster
Begins: Apr 12, 2009
Date: Mon, Aug 3rd, 2009
Start: Gilmore Lake, CA
End: Berkeley Camp at Echo Lake, CA - 7456 ft
Daily Distance: 11.9
Trip Distance: 646.1
Hours Hiked: 6
Daily Ascent: 1511
Daily Descent: 2320
Min Elevation: 7422
Max Elevation: 8381
Entry Lat: 38.82931
Entry Lng: -120.03677
Min Temp: 44
Max Temp: 78
People Met: 198
Entry Visits: 806
Journal Visits: 94,731
Guestbook Views: 34,232
Guestbook Entrys: 123
Gear list Journal Plan Training
Pacific Crest Trail Map
(Click image for full size)
We were up earlier today anticipating our arrival at Echo Lake. It's good that we were on the trail at 7:00am because there were many beautiful lakes and the trail was very rocky, both of which slowed us down.
We only had 11 miles to Echo Lake but it took us until 3pm to finally get there. The first delay was only an hour into the hike where we came upon Susie Lake. We had to stop and get water anyway but it was so nice we weren't in any hurry to leave. Then we reached Heather Lake a little after 9am and that slowed our speed down also. The trail is very near the edge of the lake but is on a steep, rocky hillside. You can look down into the water and tell that it gets very deep, very quick. The hillside goes up a few hundred feet at the same angle but it doesn't look like there have been any slides recently.
Another hour and we arrived at the upper end of Lake Aloha. What a beautiful lake! The lake is over a mile long and filled with low granite islands, some with a few trees but most just a bare granite dome sticking up out of the water. The shore is mostly granite also, but with enough trees to give us some occasional shade to rest in. The far shore is a steep granite ridge all along the lake, rising up a few hundred feet. We walked along Lake Aloha for over an hour before reaching it's end and heading off into the forest.
Take note of our hiker count today (in the info bar at the side), 198 hikers! Nearly all were headed up to the Lake Aloha area. We're sure glad we are headed down, about half were dayhikers but there were a lot of big backpacks headed up also. Don't know where they are all going to camp!
We passed a couple of smaller lakes as we headed towards Echo Lake. A little after 1pm, Echo Lake finally came into view far below. We had some elevation to lose and it was slow going because of the rocky trail. Going downhill on golf ball size granite, with a pack on, makes one choose their steps very carefully. We are sure thankful we have our trekking poles to help us when a rock rolls out from under our feet.
We finally reach the resort at the far end of Echo Lake at around 3pm and immediately go check out what the store has in the way of ice cream. We find "It's it" bars, which are two oatmeal cookies with ice cream in between them and then dipped in a chocolate coating. Originated in San Francisco apparently. We were past the Post Office hours but I noticed a lady inside so I knocked on the window lightly. She came over and was glad to get our boxes for us. We sure appreciated this because the Post Office didn't open until 11am so we would have been pretty late getting out tomorrow.
We sat outside at a picnic table and repacked our packs for the next leg to Sonora Pass. Since this resupply had been planned as a 10 day trip all the way to Tuolumne Meadows, but was now only 5 days to Sonora Pass, we had some food to send back home. We did call our son, Bob and he was able to get the resupply box shipped to Kennedy Meadows Resort at Sonora Pass so that should work out well. Once we had the return box packed, I took it inside the store to see if I could leave it with them overnight and come back in the morning to mail it off. That way we wouldn't have to carry it up to Berkeley Camp where we were planning to stay for the night. To our great surprise Emma, who is also one of the postal clerks, offered to process it for us right then so we didn't have to do it tomorrow. She even supplied us with tape and a label. What a nice thing to do for us. Emma, we sure appreciate your help.
After we had a pop, another "It's it", and ate some real food, we packed up and walked up to Berkeley Echo Lake Camp. This is a kids camp owned by (I think) Berkeley University, but they welcome PCT hikers. For 13.75 you get a bunk in a tent cabin, hot shower (no towels though) and use of the washer and dryer (soap included). You can also add on meals if you want but we didn't need to do that. Bob and the rest of the camp staff were super helpful and nice, and they really like having the hikers stay with them. Our tent cabin was rustic, just canvas walls and roof, wood floor with two bunks and a small deck. The cabin was near the edge of a very steep drop off, not quite a cliff but almost, and it overlooked South Lake Tahoe. Really nice view. We got laundry going, took our showers and then headed for bed. Clean clothes and a clean body, we slept well.
We have to finish charging the camera batteries and the phone batteries in the morning so it won't be an early start but we have plenty of time.
Animal sitings: Grouse, squirrels, marmot, pika.
Sounds of Freedom: 2 F18's headed south. Must be a nice view from that seat.